How do you let your light shine so that others can see your good works and glorify God in heaven, as we read about in Matthew 5:16?
There is one simple way to shine to get started. It is really easy. Anyone can do it. Are you ready? Here it is:
Yes, just smile. Anywhere. Everywhere. To Anyone. To everyone.
Maybe you remember the old song we used to sing as children, which says it isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E. That is very much true – it really isn’t any trouble. All you have to do is turn the corners of your mouth upward, and there you go.
Think about how a smile can change things. The first place I think about is in the checkout line at the grocery store. It would be great if your checkout person were smiling and happy, wouldn’t it? So often these days, it seems like cashiers are grumpy and irritable, as if you are imposing on them to do their jobs. But you can’t control them, can you? You can only control what you do. So what can you do? You can just smile at them. Say something pleasant. Ask how their day is going. Say just about anything nice with smile, and it doesn’t really matter what you say. Your smile will speak much louder than your words.
And just maybe by smiling, you can control them, at least for a moment. Because just maybe your smile will cause them to smile right back at you. Smiles are contagious, after all. If someone is smiling at you, it is difficult not to smile back at them. Just try it sometime and see.
If it works a few times for you, pretty soon you just might find yourself smiling at everyone – people at the gas station, other drivers in traffic, coworkers, other church members, people you don’t even know. And don’t worry about the results. If they smile back at you, that is great! But if they don’t, what has it cost you besides the movement of a few of your facial muscles?
Of course, there are a few occasions where smiling is not appropriate, even if you are trying to shine, such as if the other person is facing difficulty of some sort. There are times to be sad and not smile, and the Bible even reminds us of this in Ecclesiastes 3. But there are many times when a smile can turn around someone’s day, too.
And yes, sometimes it might be hard to smile. You might be having a bad day. You might have had several unpleasant things happen to you during the day. But if you remember the words of the song mentioned earlier, “If ever you’re in trouble it will vanish like a bubble if you’ll only take the trouble just to S-M-I-L-E.” Maybe smiling will not take away all of your troubles every single time, but it will help. Do your best to cheer up. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” If you are having trouble smiling yourself, find something to be cheerful about before whatever trouble you are facing dries up your bones. Because that wouldn’t be good at all.
How does smiling let your light shine? While our reasons for smiling may not be immediately obvious to everyone, we can smile through our difficulties because we know of the hope we have through Jesus, the promise that the troubles of this world are not the final end to everything, as Jesus told us in John 16:33. Through Jesus, we have overcome the world and all of its problems. So we have a lot to smile for.
And just maybe, someone will ask you why you are always smiling, which will give you a way in to tell them exactly why, letting your light shine even more. Not because of anything that we have done, but because of what God has done for us by saving us through the sacrifice of His Son.
So let your light shine through the happiness that you show others by smiling. It really isn’t any trouble!